Jun 3, 2015, 3:50 PM EDT
After nine consecutive series won, the Nationals are in danger tonight of dropping their second straight. With that on the line, they’ll send Taylor Jordan to the mound for his first big-league start since April 2014, at which point the right-hander’s stock within the organization took a major tumble.
Jordan has turned things around since then, bouncing back from surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow and pitching well early this season at Class AAA Syracuse. Now he’s back in Washington, taking Stephen Strasburg’s rotation spot for now.
Denard Span is back in the lineup after missing both games of yesterday’s doubleheader with a bruised right knee. Veteran lefty Mark Buehrle, who you may remember spurned the Nats to sign with the Marlins in Dec. 2011 (a decision that opened the door for the Gio Gonzalez trade), gets the nod for Toronto.
Updates to come…
TORONTO BLUE JAYS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183
Weather: Slight chance of rain, 65 degrees, Wind 7 mph in from RF
CF Denard Span
SS Ian Desmond
3B Yunel Escobar
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
C Wilson Ramos
LF Tyler Moore
2B Danny Espinosa
RHP Taylor Jordan
BLUE JAYS (24-30)
SS Jose Reyes
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
LF Chris Colabello
C Dioner Navarro
1B Justin Smoak
CF Kevin Pillar
2B Ryan Goins
LHP Mark Buehrle
HP Vic Carapazza
1B Larry Vanover (cc)
2B Toby Basner
3B Brian Knight
7:04 p.m. — And we’re underway on another overcast, chilly evening at Nationals Park. Taylor Jordan, in his first MLB start since April 2014, starts off Joe Reyes with a ball outside.
7:21 p.m. — Well, that didn’t go very well. Jordan was roughed up for four runs in the top of the first, letting the Blue Jays’ first four batters reach safely and eventually score. He walked Reyes on four pitches, gave up a double to Josh Donaldson and RBI singles to Jose Bautista, Chris Colabello and Kevin Pillar. He needed 32 pitches to face eight batters, and many of those pitches were up in the zone. Not what the Nats were looking for tonight.
7:35 p.m. — Jordan managed to put up a zero in the second inning, but not until he gave up a leadoff single to Mark Buehrle and a drive to the warning track in right to Reyes, who just missed a homer. It’s progress, though, so this game remains 4-0 in the middle of the second.
7:47 p.m. — But then Jordan goes and strikes out the side in the third, a huge improvement. Maybe he was just throwing through the sink his first two innings, not tired enough (a common occurrence for sinkerball pitchers). Buehrle’s sinker, on the other hand, has been sharp from the get-go. He is through two scoreless innings, having recorded all six outs on groundballs. Still 4-0 Toronto in the third.
8:01 p.m. — Make it 5-0 now in the fourth after a pair of singles, capped by Jose Reyes’ RBI base hit to right. Bryce Harper tried to get Ryan Goins at the plate, but his throw (while on-target) was just a split-second late. Jordan is at 71 pitches now. The Nats might be hoping to get just one more before turning to the bullpen.
8:19 p.m. — Credit to Jordan for not letting that first inning completely rattle him. He has retired 15 of the last 19 batters, at the very least keeping this game manageable while not burning up the bullpen. He’s at 82 pitches through five innings, and there is action in the pen now, so that might be it. The Nats, though, have a bunch of zeroes against Buehrle so far. They did put two men on in the fourth, with singles by Escobar and Harper (who calmly lined an outside 2-2 pitch to left field). But Ryan Zimmerman (stuck in a slump) struck out and Wilson Ramos grounded out. So it remains 5-0 in the middle of the fifth.
8:37 p.m. — Not looking good for this game to turn compelling any time soon. It’s 7-0 in the sixth after Jordan gave up a couple of doubles in the top of the inning. The Nats decided to push him and try to get one more inning. Doing so cost them two runs. Not that it matters much given the complete lack of threat of scoring tonight vs. Buehrle.
8:45 p.m. — A few changes for the Nats in the seventh. Taylor Jordan is out. Taylor Hill is now pitching. Michael Taylor takes over in left field. Tyler Moore moves to first base. Got all that? Good, there will be a quiz postgame.
8:55 p.m. — Make it seven scoreless innings for Buehrle on only 74 pitches. I think the commercial break took longer than the bottom of the seventh just did. Still 7-0 Toronto.
9:05 p.m. — Eight scoreless on 85 pitches. The only drama left is to see if Buehrle can throw a “Maddux.” That’s a complete game on fewer than 100 pitches.
9:17 p.m. — That’ll do it. Buehrle goes the distance, needing only 93 pitches to shut out the Nats and complete an 8-0 victory. That’s two straight series losses for the Nationals after nine straight series wins.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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